Target: Florida Governor Rick Scott
Goal: Repeal laws that have contributed to the deaths of at least 26 children and teens
Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws, which allow a person to use deadly force if they feel a reasonable threat to their life but do not require that they attempt to retreat first, have been used as a defense in court for the deaths of at least 26 children and teens since the laws were implemented in 2005.
Stand Your Ground was a central part of the Trayvon Martin case, in which the unarmed, 17-year-old Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman while walking back from a convenience store. Zimmerman was later acquitted by a jury.
The law has recently made its way back into national headlines as the trial of Michael Dunn has begun in Florida. Dunn is facing a first-degree murder charge for the shooting of Jordan Davis, 17, after a dispute about loud music in front of a convenience store. Dunn claims he saw a gun in the car that Davis was sitting in and fired his weapon in self-defense.
While the specifics of each of these cases are different, Stand Your Ground laws have been criticized as encouraging a shoot-first mentality that can easily lead to unnecessary violence. A “reasonable” assumption that your life is in danger is far too subjective as reason can be quickly abandoned in the heat of the moment. The deaths of young men like Davis and Martin could have easily been avoided, and any laws allow for these things to happen legally have no place in a civilized society.
Sign this petition to call on Florida Governor Rick Scott and other lawmakers in Florida to review this dangerous law.
Dear Governor Scott,
The trial of yet another man accused of shooting and killing a teenager on the basis of Stand Your Ground laws has begun in your state. While these laws have the intention of allowing self-defense in extreme situations, they have also had the unintended consequences of contributing to the deaths of at least 26 children and teens since they were put into place in 2005. The case of the Michael Dunn shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis draws disturbing comparisons to the Trayvon Martin case. Both of these killings could have potentially been avoided without Stand Your Ground laws.
I am writing you to encourage you to call a review of these dangerous laws and help avoid unnecessary violence in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Augustas Didzgalvis via Wikipedia